While, strictly speaking, pneumonia is just an inflammation of the lung, typically caused by an infection, there are many different types of pneumonia. Symptoms can vary, depending on underlying health concerns and the type of pneumonia you have, but fever and chills, coughing, trouble breathing, chest pain, headache, muscle ache, and fatigue are common.
Viral pneumonia is most often caused by a strain of the influenza virus or the adenovirus. It can also be caused by the respiratory syncytial virus. Viral pneumonia is usually less serious than bacterial pneumonia, but it’s harder to treat since viruses don’t respond to antibiotics. Some viral pneumonia can be treated with anti-viral medications, but usually rest is all that is needed.
The streptococcus pneumonia bacterium is the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia. Bacterial pneumonia is typically a more serious illness than viral pneumonia, but can usually be treated with antibiotics. There is some concern that more and more strains of bacterial pneumonia are becoming resistant to front-line antibiotics.
Fungal pneumonia can be caused by a number of endemic or opportunistic fungi. It is generally mild and will run its course without medical intervention in healthy people, but can become life threatening to people with compromised immune systems. Over 90 percent of healthy adults with pneumonia caused by the fungus C immitis will recover without treatment, but the mortality rate among AIDS patients can be as high as 70 percent.
Walking pneumonia, sometimes referred to as atypical pneumonia, simply refers to a pneumonia infection that is not serious enough to interfere with most of your daily activities. It usually caused by a microorganism known as mycoplasma pneumoniae, and is sometimes referred to as mycoplasma pneumonia. The symptoms resemble those of serious chest cold. Because the symptoms aren’t terribly serious and will usually resolve themselves eventually even without medical intervention, many people never end up seeking treatment, but mycoplasma pneumonia can be treated with antibiotics.
Don’t worry if your physician tells you that you have double pneumonia. It doesn’t mean that it’s twice as bad as the normal pneumonia infection. It merely means that both of your lungs are infected.
See a Doctor
If you suspect you have pneumonia and you are having chest pain, trouble breathing, or if you notice your lips or fingertips turn blue, see a physician immediately.
“Pneumonia .” KidsHealth – the Web’s most visited site about children’s health. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 May 2010. http://kidshealth.org/teen/infections/bacterial_viral/pneumonia.html.
“Pneumonia, Fungal: eMedicine Pulmonology.” eMedicine – Medical Reference. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 May 2010. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/300341-overview.
“Pneumonia: Causes – MayoClinic.com.” Mayo Clinic medical information and tools for healthy living – MayoClinic.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 May 2010. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pneumonia/DS00135/DSECTION=causes.
“Pneumonia: MedlinePlus.” National Library of Medicine – National Institutes of Health. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 May 2010. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/pneumonia.html.